Covid and Mink
Science-based and/or verifiable reports involving mink and the potential spread of SARS-CoV-2 among fur farms in the United States, Canada and Europe. Here are a number of up-to-date resources on mink and coronavirus.
December 7, 2021 (CDC) Guidance for Safely Importing and Handling Mink and Mink Products to Prevent COVID-19
July 9, 2021: (FCUSA) Animal Extremists Exploit Covid Fears to Propose ban on US mink Farms
July 1, 2021: (FCUSA) Frequently asked Questions
March 23, 2021: (FCUSA) Mink Biosecurity & Vaccine
January 5, 2021: (CDC One Health) People Working on Mink Farms: Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
November 6, 2020: (SAGA Furs) Regarding Pelt Storage
November 4, 2020: (CDC One Health) Steps to Prevent COVID-19 on Mink Farms
October 11, 2020: (USDA) Response & Containment Guidelines; Farmed Mink and Farmed Mustelids with SARS-CoV-2
January 1, 2020: (FCUSA) Standard Guidelines for the Operation of Mink Farms in the U.S.; Biosecurity Protocols
February 11, 2021: (Oregon Dept. of Agriculture) Oregon mink farm now clear from SARS-CoV-2; farm quarantine lifted.
“Getting to this result involved a big group of hard-working people from several agencies both state and federal, not to mention the cooperation of the farmer,” said Dr. Ryan Scholz, state veterinarian, ODA. “We followed the guidance provided by USDA and CDC, the farmer cooperated throughout the entire process, the virus was not detected in nearby wildlife, and sequencing showed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus on this farm did not mutate. This is a best-case scenario, and we are sharing what we have learned with others.”
January 13, 2021: (Oregon Dept. of Agriculture) Tests at an Oregon mink farm show SARS-CoV-2 still present with no virus mutations; testing, surveillance, and trapping continues
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) will continue to test, survey, and trap at an affected Oregon mink farm after the third round of samples found SARS-CoV-2 still circulating among the herd. On January 11, the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed two out of 62 mink samples collected by ODA on January 5, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The second round of testing that occurred last month on December 21, 2020 showed no sign of the virus among the 62 samples collected.
December 28, 2020: (Utah Dept. of Agriculture and Food) Encouraging Results from Ongoing Investigations on Utah Mink Farms
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) continue to work with Federal partners, including the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to respond to confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in people) at Utah mink farms. After multiple rounds of testing and ongoing research and investigations, UDAF and UDOH are pleased to report encouraging findings.
December 23, 2020: (Oregon Dept. of Agriculture) Mink at affected Oregon farm negative for SARS-CoV-2, wildlife surveillance continues
Recent tests confirm mink that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at an Oregon farm in late November are now clear of the virus. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) conducted two rounds of follow-up tests, 14 days apart, documenting the animals’ recovery. The first round of follow-up testing on Dec. 7 showed barely detectable levels of the virus in only one of the 62 animals tested. The second round of ODA testing on Dec. 21 confirmed no sign of SARS-CoV-2 among the 62 tested, indicating the mink population on the farm are recovered. Based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one more round of testing will be conducted prior to releasing the quarantine.
December 22, 2020: (Oregon Dept. of Agriculture) Tests show Oregon mink recovering from SARS-CoV-2
Two weeks after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, Oregon mink are showing signs of recovery. Follow-up testing by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) show little to no detection of the virus in the farmed mink. In addition, no mortalities were reported linked to the virus. The farm will remain under quarantine until no virus is detected. ODA will continue to test the mink to ensure the virus has cleared the herd.
November 27, 2020: (Oregon Dept. of Agriculture) First case of SARS-CoV-2 in mink confirmed in Oregon
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Service Laboratory (NVSL) has confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in mink at one Oregon farm. The NVSL confirmed all 10 samples submitted by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) came back positive for SARS-CoV-2, the animal virus linked to COVID-19 in humans. ODA State Veterinarian, Dr. Ryan Scholz, immediately placed the farm under quarantine meaning no animal or animal products can leave the farm until further notice. “We have been engaged with the Oregon mink industry for some time, providing information on biosecurity to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 and were ready to respond,” Scholz said. “The farmer did the right thing by self-reporting symptoms very early and he is now cooperating with us and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in taking care of his animals and staff. So far, we have no reports of mink mortalities linked to the virus but that could change as the virus progresses.”
November 24, 2020: (University College London) SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility
None of the mutations currently documented in the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to increase its transmissibility in humans, according to a study led by UCL researchers….The researchers found no evidence that any of the common mutations are increasing the virus’s transmissibility. Instead, they found most common mutations are neutral for the virus. This includes one mutation in the virus spike protein called D614G, which has been widely reported as being a common mutation that may make the virus more transmissible. The new evidence finds that this mutation is in fact not associated with significantly increasing transmission.
November 24, 2020: (Reuters): Russia fur company head floats idea of vaccinating minks for COVID-19
The acting head of a big Russian state fur company floated the idea on Tuesday of vaccinating minks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, after millions of infected minks were destroyed in Denmark and cases of the disease were found elsewhere. Ivan Nesterov, acting head of state fur company Russian Sable, told the Zvezda TV station on Monday that Russia was testing a vaccine, and could vaccinate its minks once the process was finished.
November 19, 2020: (The Guardian) Danish Covid mink variant ‘very likely extinct’, but controversial cull continues
The Covid-19 mink variant that led to a cull of all mink in Denmark and the resignation of the country’s agriculture minister on Wednesday, is “very likely extinct”, said Denmark’s health ministry.
November 18, 2020: (IFF) Coronavirus “Cluster 5” Evidence Briefing
There is a temporary measure to cull mink in Denmark due to a strain (“Cluster 5”) of coronavirus. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control notes that concerns around the mutation’s impact on vaccine efficacy lack supporting evidence. The organization has also set out a range of responses national authorities should take, including monitoring, biosecurity, and animal and human testing. It does not include a blanket cull of mink. The same rapid risk assessment noted that processed (fur) pelts are not considered a source of SARS-CoV2, and therefore the probability of spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants is considered very low. The World Organization for Animal Health has stressed that “although several animal species have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, these infections are not a driver of the COVID-19 pandemic; the pandemic is driven by human to human transmission”.
November 12, 2020: (FCUSA) Statement on Mink Culling in Denmark
The Danish government has controversially culled millions of mink from farms after a mutated strain of coronavirus was detected in the animals. The cull has now been paused after authorities questioned the legality of such a drastic action. Now, in the US, anti-fur activists are seizing on this tragedy to once again call for unnecessary restrictions on mink farming. Fur Commission USA is releasing the statements below.
October 28, 2020: (JAVMA) SARS-CoV-2 kills thousands of minks in Utah
State agriculture authorities in Wisconsin and Michigan also announced Oct. 8 and 9, respectively, that the virus had killed minks on one farm in each state. The Wisconsin farm’s animals and products were quarantined, and the farm in Michigan is self-contained, according to officials in each state.
August 17, 2020: (FCUSA) USDA Confirms SARS-CoV-2 in Mink in Utah
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans) in mink at two farms in Utah.